The Incidence of Brain Metastases in Stage IVROS1-Rearranged Non–Small Cell Lung Cancer and Rate of Central Nervous System Progression on Crizotinib

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid



Central nervous system (CNS) metastases in lung cancer are a frequent cause of morbidity and mortality. There are conflicting data on the incidence of CNS metastases in stage IV ROS1-positive NSCLC and the rate of CNS progression during crizotinib therapy.


A retrospective review of 579 patients with stage IV NSCLC between June 2008 and December 2017 was performed. Brain metastases and oncogene status (ROS1, ALK receptor tyrosine kinase gene [ALK], EGFR, KRAS, BRAF, and others) were recorded. We measured progression-free survival and time to CNS progression in ROS1-positive and ALK-positive patients who were taking crizotinib.


We identified 33 ROS1-positive and 115 ALK-positive patients with stage IV NSCLC. The incidences of brain metastases for treatment-naive, stage IV ROS1-positive and ALK-positive NSCLC were 36% (12 of 33) and 34% (39 of 115), respectively. There were no statistically significant differences in incidence of brain metastases across ROS1, ALK, EGFR, KRAS, BRAF, or other mutations. Complete survival data were available for 19 ROS1-positive and 83 ALK-positive patients. The median progression-free survival times for ROS1-positive and ALK-positive patients were 11 and 8 months, respectively (p = 0.304). The CNS was the first and sole site of progression in 47% of ROS1-positive (nine of 19) and 33% of ALK-positive (28 of 83) patients, with no statistically significant differences between these groups (p = 0.610).


Brain metastases are common in treatment-naive stage IV ROS1-positive NSCLC, though the incidence does not differ from that in other oncogene cohorts. The CNS is a common first site of progression in ROS1-positive patients who are taking crizotinib. This study reinforces the importance of developing CNS-penetrant tyrosine kinase inhibitors for patients with ROS1-positive NSCLC.

Related Topics

    loading  Loading Related Articles